Restaurant Considering Leaving Downtown Bryan Over Parking Problems

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A downtown Bryan business owner is giving the city a "pizza his mind."

He says he's had enough with people parking in front of his restaurant and not going in.

The owner of Mr. G's pizza is thinking of relocating to College Station because of the parking problems.

News 3 sat down with the city to see if there's a solution.

It's the start of the lunch rush in Downtown Bryan but Mr G's Pizzeria isn't buzzing yet.

Giovanni Cerone has been here 17 years but is considering moving his business to College Station.

This is why.

People are parking in front of the pizzeria but going elsewhere.

"From employees working in the nearby building and they park from 9 o'clock to 5 o'clock. They take the space of an eventual customer. And the eventual customer cannot find where the parking is going I lose the customer," said Cerone.

He even put out a tow away warning sign to scare people from parking in front of his shop if they aren't coming in. But the police took it down.

One remains in his window but legally he can't have them towed.

"We support his efforts in his business. However we can't allow people to have reserved spots on public property," said Randy Haynes, a Bryan Project Planner.

Haynes is working with downtown businesses for solutions including publicizing parking at the new parking garage next to the courthouse.

Many of the 1,000 spots remain empty because a study showed people don't want to pay to park and it's several blocks away from most of the bars and restaurants.

The first hour of parking is free too which many don't realize.

The Downtown Bryan Association is also getting parking complaints from other merchants.

"On the one hand it's a good problem to have. But we do know that we need to take a look at how we can manage the parking," said Sandy Farris, Executive Director of Downtown Bryan Association.

Rhonda Johnson is a first time visitor to downtown from Texarkana, Arkansas and had trouble parking for lunch at Mr. G's.

"The whole thing was so full that this restaurant would be packed and I might not get even a seat because the parking was so full," she said.

Now Mr. G. is looking at options on whether he'll keep cooking here or College Station.

The Downtown Bryan Association will be discussing parking issues at their merchant meeting later this month but only the city has authority to make changes.

Downtown is the only place in Bryan where business owners are not required to provide their own parking for customers.

The city says they have no plans to take away free parking spaces or bring parking meters back to downtown.